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December 23, 2011

France: Lyon

Filed under: France, Photography, Space Invader, The List, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage — anotherheader @ 7:48 pm

Why did we visit Lyon France?  Sad but true, we visited Lyon because it was for us conveniently located.  Situated along a main north-south auto route, Lyon was for us a perfect stopover on our way from Frankfurt Germany’s international airport to the south of France.  There are far, far better reasons to visit.

Lyon is considered France’s “second city,” whatever that means exactly.  The old town, Vieux Lyon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  (The UNESCO designation is usually a good enough reason alone for us to include a city in a travel itinerary.)  Further Lyon has been invadedHunting for tile mosaic Space Invaders is always a great way to see the nooks and crannies of any city; it is a good reason for a visit.  Amongst it all, Lyon is considered to be the gastronomic capitol of France.  With all that, how could it be that we have not visited Lyon already?

After a long drive from Luxembourg we pushed through Lyon’s rush hour traffic and found our hotel, the Hotel le Phénix, along the Saône River.  Our base hotel is located on the edge of Vieux Lyon.

Out the door we could start our search for invaders.  We’d eventually find 13 of the 42 mosaics originally left by the Parisian street artist in 2001.  We also found, as we usually do, a couple of places where Space Invaders have been removed.

Street art in Lyon: Pasted paper by Two Hands Two Feet (THTF, top and bottom left), a tile Space Invader (bottom center right), and pasted paper by Lamoul (bottom right)

On our invader search we discovered the city, old town and new.  The old town is a warren of narrow irregularly aligned streets.  Connecting the lanes, behind street front doors, are traboules. Traboules are historic, dimly lit, shortcut passageways through the buildings that link the streets.  Also behind the inconspicuous lane-side doors are miratraboules.  Miratraboules allow passage to an interior courtyard or cul-de-sac; they don’t connect to another street.  Though not well advertised, there are enough traboules and miratraboules to entertain passing tourists.

In the midst of our exploration of Lyon were university students starting the academic year with a variety of initiation rituals.  For the undergraduates, the rites were bonding experiences.  For Becky and myself, the students’ activities were entertaining.  For Gigi the whole thing was just scary.  What were these strange people doing?  It didn’t help that the bustling European city was full of sudden loud sounds and unusual smells.  The vibrant urban scene was a lot for a young dog suffering from jet lag to adjust to.

Ironically there is one thing in Lyon that we did not fully experience, the restaurants.  The top eateries we wanted visit were fully committed for the evening; we couldn’t get in.  No matter what, we ate well.  But this time we didn’t find a dining experience worthy of a true gastronomic capitol.  There’s always something left for a future visit, I guess.  Next time we’ll be sure to charge up the debit card and make the reservation calls well in advance.  An over-the-top restaurant experience in France’s capitol of gastronomy does not sound like something that can be missed.

Lyon's Hotel de Ville (left); Gigi tries one of the numerous public dog watering stations (center); ice cream at night (right)


  1. Reblogged this on disneyloverslifestory.

    Comment by disneyloverslifestory — December 23, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

  2. […] why we enjoyed our stay in Montpellier.  After cold days in Luxembourg City and a hot sweaty sojourn in Lyon, the Mediterranean weather was perfectly ideal.  Days like this are called Chamber of Commerce […]

    Pingback by France: Montpellier « Another Header — December 23, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  3. […] Lyon […]

    Pingback by The List « Another Header — January 11, 2012 @ 3:03 am

  4. […] we acquired an unexpected affinity for the city. Becky didn’t really care for Lyon after our first visit by car. But her attitude changed the longer we stayed this time through. When it was time to leave the […]

    Pingback by The Saône: Lyon | Wanderlust — August 10, 2018 @ 7:43 am

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